Editor's Musings: Glancing Back To Go Forward
I'm very happy about sport science and coaching as my chosen career path, and at the moment I’m hoping to stay on this path for quite some time. I love my job, and while it has its drawbacks such as late nights, early mornings, and often working over weekends, it is very rewarding and enjoyable. For me the pros outweigh the cons. I love the science behind sport, but mostly I love the human factor. I believe this is why I started SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE back in 2015 with two trial issues. I felt that sport science wasn’t being represented sufficiently and that sport scientists needed a space to connect and share information and ideas. The idea for a sport science newsletter popped into my head, which then became an e-zine. We started out with three aims:
Deliver practical, informative, and positive information
Connect sport science PEOPLE
Progress, promote, and protect sport science as a profession in South Africa
Since its inception, and including the two trial issues, SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE has published 14 issues, containing 78 articles from 14 different contributors. We have covered numerous interesting topics over the past two-something years, including articles on institutions and interviews with people in practice and academia. In 2017, SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE got its own website, and I have been able to monitor the site’s visitors in a very basic manner. While the numbers aren’t astounding, we have gradually increased the number of people visiting the site over the past year. There have been visitors from all parts of the world, especially Europe, and a few from the USA and Middle East. I have had a few people ask to be added to the mailing list (something I was pleasantly surprised about), and so far only one person has asked to be removed. Having considered all of this that has passed, I’m feeling encouraged about the future.
If you’ve read SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE over the past year, then you’ll have noticed that the website has changed. We had some hiccups, and the launch was delayed. We still have many bugs and cosmetic problems to work out, but we'll get to these in the near future. Hopefully all these changes are going to be for the better. However, as much as I try to keep it alive, it is impossible to produce this sport science periodical without contributors. Those contributors who have invested time and effort into SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE so far are heroes to me. Hopefully, a fresh new look will encourage more contributors to get stuck in, and then I believe we’ll be able to do a better job of hitting the three aims. I really want sport science to progress as a profession in South Africa, and while SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE can form part of this process, I believe that what we really need is an association that can regulate and guide sport science in our country.
I assume that some concerns are starting to form in your minds. Currently, sport scientists function with unbounded autonomy and to go from this state to being regulated can be a daunting thought. You might think that it could become a shameful money-grab, as some associations might be. I think that these are valid fears, but what would the benefits potentially be? Perhaps we can benefit from the development of good sport science standards of practice, a code of conduct, provision of professional indemnity insurance, networking, and professional development opportunities. These are just a few ideas, but I’m sure there are more. Ultimately, SPORT SCIENCE COLLECTIVE can only get us so far, and a sport science association would do a much better job at promoting, progressing, and protecting sport science as a profession in South Africa. It would be a great way to connect sport scientists, and would help with the dissemination of practical, informative, and positive information. Who knows, maybe sometime in the not-too-distant future I’ll be writing to inform you of our very own sport science association.
For now though, I hope you enjoy this month's articles which will be coming out over the next few days.